Electron Microprobe and Tephrochronology Facilities

The Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art have a JEOL JXA-8200 electron microprobe equipped with 5 wavelength-dispersive spectrometers (containing a range of monochromator crystals). The instrument can analyse most elements (exceptions are noble gases and elements with an atomic number <8) with an abundance >0.1 wt% at micron-scale spatial resolution. Precise quantitative data can be acquired using spot sizes (~1 to 20 microns), or variations in element abundance can be mapped across an area on the sample. Facilities for preparing archaeological and geological samples for compositional analysis (grinding and polishing) on the electron microprobe are also available.

We have a dedicated cryptotephra extraction laboratory for identifying non-visible volcanic ash layers in sedimentary sequences, including marine and lacustrine cores (e.g., McLean et al., 2018; 2020) and archaeological sites (e.g., Barton et al., 2015; Cullen et al., 2021). 

Publications by members of Tephrochronology Research Group demonstrate the breadth of our experience with identifying, characterising and dating archaeological and volcanic deposits (e.g., Rawson et al., 2015; Albert et al., 2019; Stock et al., 2018; Sunyé-Puchol et al., 2022).

For information regarding our facilities and prices please contact:

Prof. Victoria Smith (Laboratory Manager)


Albert, P. G., Smith, V.C., Suzuki, T., McLean, D., Tomlinson, E.L., Miyabuchi, Y., Kitaba, I., Mark, D.F., & Moriwaki, H., SG06 Project Members & Nakagawa, T. (2019). Geochemical characterisation of the widespread Japanese tephrostratigraphic markers and correlations to the Lake Suigetsu sedimentary archive (SG06 core). Quaternary Geochronology, 52, 103-131. doi:10.1016/j.quageo.2019.01.005

Barton. N., Lane, C., Albert, P.G., White, D., Collcut, S.N., Bouzouggar, A., Ditchfield, P., Farr, L., Oh, A., Ottolini, L., Smith, V.C., Van Peer, P., & Kindermann, K. (2015). The role of cryptotephra in refining the chronology of Late Pleistocene human evolution and cultural change in North Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews, 118, 151-169.  doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.09.008

Cullen, V.L., Smith, V.C., Tushabramishvili, N., Mollol, C., Dee, M., Wilkinson, K.N., & Adler, D.S. (2021). A revised AMS and tephra chronology for the Late Middle to Early Upper Paleolithic occupations of Ortvale Klde, Republic of Georgia. Journal of Human Evolution 151, 102908. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2020.102908

McLean, D., Albert, P.G., Nakagawa, T., Suzuki, T., Staff, R.A., Yamada, K., Kitaba, I., Haraguchi, T., Kitagawa, J., SG14 Project Members, & Smith, V.C. (2018). Integrating the Holocene tephrostratigraphy for East Asia using a high-resolution cryptotephra study from Lake Suigetsu (SG14 core), central Japan. Quaternary Science Reviews, 183, 36-58.doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2017.12.013

McLean, D., Albert, P. G., Suzuki, T., Nakagawa, T., Kimura, J.-I., Chang, Q., Miyabuchu, A.Y., Manning, C.J., MacLeod, A., Blockley, S.P.E., Staff, R.A., Yamada, K., Kitaba, I., Haraguchi, T., Kitagawa, J., SG14 Project Members, & Smith, V.C. (2020). Constraints on the timing of explosive volcanism at Aso and Aira calderas (Japan) between 50 and 30 ka: New insights from the Lake Suigetsu sedimentary record (SG14 core). Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 21, 225–21. doi: 10.1029/2019GC008874

Rawson, H., Naranjo, J. A., Smith, V. C., Fontijn, K., Pyle, D. M., Mather, T. A., & Moreno, H. (2015). The frequency and magnitude of post-glacial explosive eruptions at Volcán Mocho-Choshuenco, southern Chile. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 299, 103-129. doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2015.04.003

Stock, M. J., Humphreys, M., Smith, V. C., Isaia, R., Brooker, R. A., & Pyle, D. M. (2018). Tracking volatile behaviour in sub-volcanic plumbing systems using apatite and glass: insights into pre-eruptive processes at Campi Flegrei, Italy. Journal of Petrology, egy020, 1-29. http://doi.org/10.1093/petrology/egy020

Sunyé-Puchol, I., Hodgetts, A.G.E., Watt, S.F.L., Arce, J.L., Barfod, D., Mark, D.F., Sosa-Ceballos, G., Siebe, C., Dymock, R.C., Blaauw, M., & Smith, V.C. (2022). Reconstructing the middle to late Pleistocene explosive eruption histories of Popocatépetl, Iztaccíhuatl and Tláloc-Telapón volcanoes in Central México. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 421, 107413. doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2021.107413